Jack Kirby is and always will be The King of Comics Artists.
He fought his way to the top of that pile and he will never be replaced.
His pencil was responsible for creating an endless stream of characters and concepts and absolutely best of all he was a wonderful man with a huge heart and endless patience for those creators coming up behind him.
I'd met Jack at a comic convention in New York one year, mistaking him for another hero of mine, Mickey Spillane-- and he had a good laugh about it. He looked at my work, gave me some tips and asked me to keep in touch.
Over the next few years we had some correspondence including my sending some xeroxes of work and he'd send them back with some notes on them.
We had a good enough relationship that he sent me one of his "magic" pencils and it hangs proudly in my studio after I asked him how he drew so many pages a day.
At a later convention he and I were in the middle of a conversation and he was proudly looking at my first professionally published work. Mary Hart from Entertainment Tonight stepped between us with her camera crew and started to ask him questions.
He put his hand up and told them to step back, telling them he was in the middle of an important conversation, and then introduced me and my book to them.
Kirby was proof that just because you were a giant it didn't mean you had to act that way.